New to DVD & blu-ray this week is one of two Robert De Niro movies. If I could describe “The Intern” in one word it would be “easy.” It’s not a movie you haven’t seen before dozens of times wrapped in dozens of different packages. First and foremost, let’s get one thing straight. The Intern is a romantic comedy. At least, at its core. The romantic comedy spin makes it easy to digest the fact that three issues addressed in the movie are infidelity, aging, and death. What happens when a retired baby boomer starts from the ground up at an online retailing company? The theme of old school meets new school comes into play once again.
The background music, editing, and pacing all make it feel like a Lifetime Channel version of “The Internship” involving a woman with dormant father-daughter issues. Robert De Niro’s character gives advice and teaches a building full of furry-faced millennials how to carry themselves like gentlemen, a quality that definitely seems to be missing in today’s youth. The script is obviously a love letter to the gentlemen of yesteryear. You know, those guys who went to work early and came home late from the factories and offices. They are in, in this movie, all summarized in Robert De Niro’s character Ben Whittaker. Ben’s 70-year-old widower who feels the best way to feel alive again is to jump back into the workforce via a senior intern program.
Now let’s pause for a minute and really analyze how truly deplorable a senior intern program would be. Interns, being the bottom of the barrel, are the cannon fodder of companies. They are abused and overworked for little to no pay; To offer a senior citizen an internship after decades of trials, tribulations and experience is insulting and cruel, my first quip of the storyline. However in the land of make believe, it’s an opportunity for Ben, being the clean-cut, square-jawed, hard worker he is to “get back in the swing of things.” No task is too great for the 70-year-old intern. He cleans, drives, analyzes reports, takes care of kids, gets coffee and does everything that’s required of an uh, intern. The man works his way up from getting the bosses dry cleaning to being her best friend over the period of a few weeks. Now that’s moxy!
Anne Hathaway plays Anne Hathaway. She just happens to make a million dollars online in this movie. She’s Jules, the every girl who cries in bed in her pajamas character. If you’ve seen a Nancy Myers rom-com, then you’ve seen her before. She’s the clichéd workaholic who neglects her personal life, a character that is somewhat played out but still understandably relatable. I’ve just seen it all before.
If nothing else, the movie can be appreciated for the message it communicates about humility and work ethic. Nonetheless, there are still some “problems” that I find distracting, and they lie in three places- tone, pacing and climax.
Let’s start with the tone. I said earlier how the movie feels like a romantic comedy. The only thing with that is there’s no romance. There is also absolutely no conflict. It’s like two people become friends and then the movie ends! Everyone loves Ben so much that nothing bad happens to him. He just impresses everybody and the credits roll.
Next, the pacing doesn’t leave for a build up in that, it just moves along and does so with little to no purpose or rather, urgency. The thing about movies like The Intern is you’ve seen it so many times that it has to contain something different to keep our attention. Something to make us care and I really didn’t care.
Finally, there isn’t a clear-cut climax. The ending is actually so sudden and rushed that it feels incomplete. And what’s worse is this happens over a period of two hours, not ninety minutes. For anyone who appreciates a well-developed plot, this movie may not be for you.
The Intern fails to practice what is preaches. Here we have a film about applying yourself and taking initiative. A movie about work ethic and drive that does not take its own advice in telling a satisfying story that drives home. It all lies in the storyline and the plot. It doesn’t go the extra mile and thus lacks effort.
The bottom line is The Intern is a movie that pops up on TV in the background while you’re doing some mundane domestic task throughout the week. I give it 2 ½ out of 5 stars.